Trump's indifference and racism kills 1 in 1,000 Americans

Thom plus logo Covid has now killed 1 in 1000 Americans in less than a year.

How is it that in Australia it's 3 out of every 100,000 people, and in New Zealand it's 1 out of every 200,000 people, but here in America we're dropping like flies?

Chalk it up to Republican racism and a libertarian indifference to the notion of society.

Trump's official emergency declaration came on March 11th, and most of the country shut down or at least went part-way toward that outcome. The Dow collapsed and millions of Americans were laid off, but saving lives was, after all, the number one consideration.

Trump put medical doctors on TV daily, the media was freaking out about refrigerated trucks carrying bodies away from New York hospitals, and doctors and nurses were our new national heroes.

And then came April 7th.

I remember that week vividly; it was as if a light switch had been flipped, and I commented on it on my radio show at the time (and many times since).

April 7th was the day that America learned that the majority of the people who were dying from COVID19 were either elderly, black or Hispanic. Not so many white guys, after all.

Exactly one month earlier, on March 7th, Trump had played golf at his club in West Palm Beach, met with Brazilian strongman Jair Bolsonaro at Mar-a-Lago, and visited the CDC headquarters in Atlanta. Over the previous week, US deaths had risen from 4 to 22.

In March, Jared Kushner even put together an all-volunteer taskforce of mostly preppie 20-something white men to coordinate getting PPE to hospitals.

Then came April 7th, when the New York Times ran a front-page story with the headline: Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States. Other media ran similar headlines across the American media landscape, and it was heavily reported on cable news and the network news that night.

As the New York Times noted that day: "In Illinois, 43 percent of people who have died from the disease and 28 percent of those who have tested positive are African-Americans, a group that makes up just 15 percent of the state's population. African-Americans, who account for a third of positive tests in Michigan, represent 40 percent of deaths in that state even though they make up 14 percent of the population. In Louisiana, about 70 percent of the people who have died are black, though only a third of that state's population is."

American conservatives responded with a collective, "What the hell?!?"

Limbaugh declared that afternoon that "with the coronavirus, I have been waiting for the racial component." And here it was. "The coronavirus now hits African Americans harder - harder than illegal aliens, harder than women. It hits African Americans harder than anybody, disproportionate representation."

Claiming that he knew this was coming as if he was some sort of a medical savant, Limbaugh said, "But now these - here's Fauxcahontas, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris demanding the federal government release daily race and ethnicity data on coronavirus testing, patients, and their health outcomes. So they want a database to prove we are not caring enough about African Americans..."

It didn't take a medical savant, of course. African Americans die disproportionately from everything, from heart disease to strokes to cancer to childbirth. It's a symptom of a racially rigged economy and a healthcare system that only responds to money, which America has conspired to keep from African Americans for over 400 years. Of course they're going to die more frequently from coronavirus.

But the New York Times and the Washington Post simultaneously publishing front-page articles about that disparity with regard to COVID19, both on April 7th, echoed across the rightwing media landscape like a Fourth of July fireworks display.

Tucker Carlson, the only primetime Fox News host who'd previously expressed serious concerns about the death toll, changed his tune the same day, as documented by Media Matters for America.

Now, he said, "we can begin to consider how to improve the lives of the rest, the countless Americans who have been grievously hurt by this, by our response to this. How do we get 17 million of our most vulnerable citizens back to work? That's our task."

White people were out of work, and black people were most of the casualties, outside of the extremely elderly. And those white people need their jobs back!

Brit Hume joined Tucker's show and, using his gravitas as a "real news guy," intoned, "The disease turned out not to be quite as dangerous as we thought."

Left unsaid was the issue of to whom it was "not quite as dangerous," but Limbaugh listeners and Fox viewers are anything but unsophisticated when it hearing dog-whistles on behalf of white supremacy.

Only 12,677 Americans were dead by that day, but now that we knew most of the non-elderly were black, things were suddenly very, very different. Now it was time to quit talking about people dying and start talking about getting people back to work!

It took less than a week for Trump to get the memo, presumably through Fox and Stephen Miller. On April 12th, he retweeted a call to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci and declared, in another tweet, that he had the sole authority to open the US back up, and that he'd be announcing a specific plan to do just that "shortly."

On April 13th, the ultra-rightwing, nearly-entirely-white-managed US Chamber of Commerce published a policy paper titled Implementing A National Return to Work Plan.

Unspoken but big on the agenda of corporate America was the desire to get the states to rescind their stay-home-from-work orders so that companies could cut their unemployment tax costs.

When people file unemployment claims, those claims are ultimately paid by the companies themselves, so when a company has a lot of claims they get a substantial increase in their unemployment insurance premiums/taxes. If the "stay home" orders were repealed, workers could no longer, in most states, file for or keep receiving unemployment compensation.

The next day, Freedomworks, the billionaire-founded and -funded group that animated the Tea Party against Obamacare a decade earlier, published an op-ed on their website calling for an "economic recovery" program including an end to the capital gains tax and a new law to "shield" businesses from lawsuits.

Three days after that, Freedomworks and the House Freedom Caucus issued a joint statement declaring that "[I]t's time to re-open the economy."

Freedomworks published their "#ReopenAmerica Rally Planning Guide" encouraging conservatives to show up "in person" at their state capitols and governor's mansions, and, for signage, to "Keep it short: 'I'm essential,' 'Let me work,' 'Let Me Feed My Family'" and to "Keep [the signs looking] homemade."

One of the first #OpenTheCountry rallies to get widespread national attention was April 19th in New Hampshire. Over the next several weeks, rallies had metastasized across the nation, from Oregon to Arizona, Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois and elsewhere.

One that drew particularly high levels of media attention, complete with swastikas, confederate flags and assault rifles was directed against the governor of Michigan, rising Democratic star Gretchen Whitmer.

When Rachel Maddow reported on meat packing plants that were epicenters of mass infection, the conservative Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court pointed out that the virus flare wasn't coming from the "regular folks" of the surrounding community; they were mostly Hispanic and Black.

The conservative meme was now well established.

About a third of the people the virus killed were old folks in nursing homes. Which, commentators on the right said, could be a good thing for the economy because they're just "useless eaters" who spend our Medicaid and Social Security money but are on death's door anyway.

For example, Texas's Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told Fox News, "Let's get back to living... And those of us that are 70-plus, we'll take care of ourselves."

A conservative town commissioner in Antioch, CA noted that losing many elderly "would reduce burdens in our defunct Social Security System...and free up housing..." He added, "We would lost a large portion of the people with immune and other health complications. I know it would be loved ones as well. But that would once again reduce our impact on medical, jobs and housing."

Then came news that the biggest outbreaks were happening in prisons along with the meat packing plants, places with few white people (and the few whites in them were largely poor and thus disposable). Trump's response to this was to issue an executive order using the Defense Production Act (which he had refused to use to order production of testing or PPE equipment) to order the largely Hispanic and Black workforce back into the slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.

African Americans were dying in our cities, Hispanics were dying in meat packing plants, the elderly were dying in nursing homes.

But the death toll among white people, particularly affluent white people in corporate management who were less likely to be obese, have hypertension or struggle with diabetes, and more likely to work from home was relatively low. And those who came through the infection were presumed to be immune to subsequent bouts, so we could issue them "COVID Passports" and give them hiring priority.

As an "expert" member of Jared Kushner's team of young, unqualified volunteers supervising the administration's PPE response to the virus noted to Vanity Fair's Katherine Eban, "The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy."

It was, after all, exclusively Blue states that were then hit hard by the virus: Washington, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Robert F. Kennedy's grandson Max Kennedy Jr, 26, was one of the volunteers, and blew the whistle to Congress on Kushner and Trump. As Jane Mayer wrote for The New Yorker, "Kennedy was disgusted to see that the political appointees who supervised him were hailing Trump as 'a marketing genius,' because, Kennedy said they'd told him, 'he personally came up with the strategy of blaming the states.'"

So the answer to the question of why, at year's end, the United States has about 20% of the world's Covid deaths, but only 4.5% of the world's population, is pretty straightforward: Republicans were just fine with Black people dying back in April, particularly since they could blame it on Democratic Blue-state governors.

And once they put that strategy into place in April, it became politically impossible to back away from it, even as more and more red-state white people became infected.

Everything since then - right down to Trump's December 26th tweet ("The lockdowns in Democrat run states are absolutely ruining the lives of so many people - Far more than the damage that would be caused by the China Virus.") - has been a double-down on death and destruction, now regardless of race.



Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

We have great healthcare in America for those that can afford it. Covid was destined to spread like wildfire because we have a large population that cannot afford that great healthcare. In Australia and New Zealand all have sick leave. They do not drag themselves into work when they are sick because they cannot afford to miss work. All have medical insurance at reasonable prices. When you are making $15 an hour how can you afford $1000 per month for medical insurance with a $5000 deductible? We have a homeless population where it has spread, they do not. We have a Senate of Millionaires and Billionaires that think $600 in aid is excessive. Greg Norman (wealthy retired golfer that is friends with Trump) gets Covid. Talks about how terrible it is and then gets the for only the wealthy and connected antibody cocktail. Same one as Guiliani got. Then you add the fact that Trump has made it a Bipartisan virus. A virus that you are not a man if you wear a mask. Then makes super spreader events the rage among his followers. As always the Republicans have left a huge mess for the Democrats to clean up.

With 16 days left they should send Trump out as a twice impeached President. Stops any more pardons.

cuz's picture
cuz 2 years 21 weeks ago

Thom, why do you spend so much time trying to divide America by race?

Rather than concentrate on the deaths, switch your focus to a more positive note and that is the survival rate for this terrible virus which is astoundingly high.

Despite the naysayers, we now have a number of promising vaccines.

We are entering a new year, America needs to hear some positives. How about doing your part to make America a bit more cheerful by spreading hope for a great future for this country and the entire world?

Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

Wow, doorknobs, how impressive. What a great job Trump has done! Just goes to show you that when you have had 20 million cases and 350000 deaths you learn how to deal with it a little better. But then for the most expensive medical care in the world should 86 countries be below us? Here is another to look at. What do you suppose this is all costing us? I am just amazed at the ability to defend the USA's record on Covid-19. Give me some more good stats! You made my day! I will sleep better tonight. And Cuz sees postive results from all of this. Sunshine and lolliepops ahead. You 2 should buy Trump the 11800 votes that he needs to GA.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 21 weeks ago

Mr or Ms Legend:

Australia is ranked 24th in the world with a death rate of 3.19% from Covid-19. The UK Is ranked 31st in the world with a death rate of 2.8% from Covid-19. Canada is ranked 50th with a death rate of 2.6% from Covid-19. The USA is ranked 90th in the world with a death rate of 1.7% from Covid-19. As I'm sure you are aware, both the UK and Canada have government furnished health care. Kinda blows your health care theory out of the are the rankings as of January 4, 2021

PS the rates cited are identical to the rates cited by Mr. Hartmann, only a different source. Mr Hartmann mistakenly, cited Australia's death rate from Covid-19 as 3/100,000. The statistics he and I cited place Australia's death rate from Covid-19 at 3/100. A huge difference.

Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

Just add another post. When you edit you take your post out of order which deceives other readers.

Death rate is based on number of cases. The USA has almost 25% of the world cases with 4% of the world population. Which kind of dilutes the whole statistical thing. Australia (your example) has had 28500 total cases with 909 total deaths, with a population of 25 million. Yes they have a death rate of 3.19%. The USA has 14x the population of Australia. If the USA compared to Australia we would have 28500 x 14 = 399000 cases total and 14 X 909 = 12726 deaths total. Throw all of your statistics at me that you want. You watch too much Fox News.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 21 weeks ago

Mr or Ms Legend:

First off, don't chide me for editing my comments, after all, that's what the edit function is for, to edit the remarks. I have no control over the order, that's a function of the web master. Secondly, I realize the death rate is based on the number of Covid-19 cases. It's like that for everyone in the chart. If the USA had the same death rate from Covid-19 that the Australians have, we would have 657,596 dead. Don't try to manipulate the numbers to try and prove your unprovable point (whatever that point is). Accept the facts as presented. The facts are the same for all countries.

Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

Live in your Fox news Trump loving world of statistics. So by your figuring the 86 countries that have a lower death percentage per case than the USA have much better medical treatment for covid than the USA? Australia met the challenge very early in the pandemic. Treatments were in the early stages. We have had 20,000,000 cases to practice on. New drugs have been developed. New techniques. Like rolling fat men onto their stomach. But 350000 deaths is a fact (probably an undercount) and 657596 is not.

India has 4x the population of the USA and has less than half of the cases and less than half of the deaths. And per your chart has a death per case percentage of 1.45%. Keep it coming.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 21 weeks ago

Mr or Ms Legend:

Now you're drifting into folderal. BTW they are not my statistics, they are the statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Admit your wrong.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 21 weeks ago

IMO, anyone who abuses the edit feature to purposely jump ahead of subsequent comments -- with the intent to confuse readers with an out-of-order, nonsensical sequence -- should be banned from the site. Imagine what an unreadable mess it would be if everyone adopted the same rude tactic. Or is a self-ordained privilege okay for some but not for others?

This has happened before with deceitful posters who didn't like the original replies to their comments. There is ample opportunity to edit before posting using the "preview" button. One can even edit after posting before someone else might post (which I've done, taking a chance, not always succeeding, but never deliberately).

If there are subsequent comments, why not just post an additional comment in the proper order to correct any misstatements in the original post or to further clarify a point? Wouldn't that be easier and more reasonable than disrupting the integrity of the thread and therefore the conversation?

It might not even be possible for a webmaster to tweak the program to fix a glitch like that without re-inventing the wheel. But, in the end, there's no good excuse to take advantage of the problem on purpose, is there?

Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

First of all it is "Admit you are wrong". Or you could say "Admit you're wrong". And I said "per your chart", which was a reference to your link. So what do you say about the 86 countries that have a lower percentage of death per case than the USA?

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 21 weeks ago

Mr or Ms Legend:

I have nothing to say about the other 86 countries. The facts are the facts. I never claimed the USA was the best. You went on about health care in Australia, and Mr Hartmann erroneously stated the death rate in Australia from Covid19 was 3/100,000 not the actual rate of 3.2/100. You were wrong, but you won't admit it.

Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

I looked up Thom's link in the second paragraph of the above article. Do you understand that the blue letters reference a link? is the link. Look at the far right column of the Cases and Mortality by Country and you will see 3.6 per 100000 for Australia. You have to go way down the chart. The USA is at 107 per 100000. Keep it coming.

SueN's picture
SueN 2 years 21 weeks ago

Thom once had somebody complain there was too much underlining in the newsletter. :)

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 2 years 21 weeks ago

Mr or Ms Legend

Dah...if you catch Covid-19 in Australia you have a 3.2% chance of dying.

If you catch Covid-19 in the USA you have a 1.7% chance of dying.

Legend 2 years 21 weeks ago

You are a classic case of you cannot fix stupid. Unfortunately the Trump base is full of your type. It is really sad that the USA education level has gone so low. Australia has 3.6 deaths per 100000 and the USA has 107 per 100000. The best one on the list is Taiwan, a country that I have worked in a lot. It is 0.03 per 100000.

BigAL71 2 years 20 weeks ago

Our youngest son lives in Melbourne, they had a normal large family christmas after a sevre 100day lockdown,they have got on top of the virus, the u,k, isso bad because our P.M."BABY TRUMP" Never closed the boders, late with lockdown which was never enforced,

jeffpc's picture
jeffpc 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hi Worn Out,

Thom was referring to deaths per 100,000 population not per 100,000 cases. No mistake by Thom.


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